John Chapter 6 has been the source of much debate and confusion over the years ... and the arguments will still go on. No doubt to the amusement of Jesus looking down upon us and saying: "You of little Faith. Why can't you just believe and stop dissecting and analysing everything I said as if I were an insect in your lab!"
I speak of course of the part in that Chapter where Jesus says He is "the Bread of life" and later when He says that unless people eat His flesh or drink His blood they will not have life.
As you can imagine, this was very confusing to His listeners; even His followers and disciples.
"What is He on about?" they asked. "How can we eat His flesh and drink His blood? This is cannibalism surely. This is too much for us. We don't want to follow this guy any longer!"
So what did Jesus do?
He didn't say "Hey ... wait a minute. You didn't understand what I meant. This is what I really meant to say ... let me explain!"
No ... Jesus let them go. He didn't try to justify Himself or what He had just said. It was as if He dissolved the unspoken contract between them. They could not accept a certain clause so He let them go.
Then He turned to His disciples and asked: "How about you? Do you want to go as well?"
As ever, Peter was first to answer: "To whom shall we go?" he asked. "We're in this for the duration, all the way, to the end". Or words to that effect, signifying the he trusted Jesus without question; albeit no doubt he had many questions in his mind. Peter accepted Christ's words without question and stepped out in blind Faith and dared to believe.
So what are we to make of all this after all these years? Did Jesus mean what He said literally, or was it all symbolism and imagery, using common day articles of the time like bread and wine to signify the sacrifice He is to endure for us? His flesh would be torn by the beating and the nailing to the Cross and His blood would be spilled for us. Was it all symbolism?
Quite frankly, I'm with Peter on this.
I don't believe there is much to be gained in debating this ad-infinitum because, in reality, I doubt any of us will ever come to a satisfactory conclusion. Wiser heads than mine have argued this matter over the centuries, much to the amusement of Jesus looking down from above. Any efforts by me at interpreting this would no doubt have Jesus rolling on the floor with laughter.
So I am minded to accept it for what it is. Something that Jesus said, and we're to believe it as best we humanly can.
There's no point in closing your eyes tightly and repeating over and over again "I believe ... I believe ... even though I don't understand it ... I believe".
God, who can see deep within our hearts, and knows our human nature and its failings, realises that it is too difficult for us to understand.
But then, He does not ask us to understand Him. He asks us to love Him and to trust Him without any evidence whatsoever.
It's what is called Faith.
To believe when your common sense tells you not to.